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Turbococina Efficient Cookstoves in El Salvador


The use of fuel wood for cooking has long been predominant in El Salvador, with around 60 percent of urban households and 85 percent of rural households using firewood for their cooking needs. This has been linked to a variety of adverse health effects in households and to the country’s current high level of deforestation, where over 85 percent of forest cover has disappeared since the 1960s. El Salvador is now the second most deforested country in Latin America after Haiti.

The UNDP, through its MDG Carbon, has been supporting a public-private partnership to distribute Turbococina efficient stoves to schools and households. The UNDP has provided capacity building on carbon finance and CDM Programme of Activities and the benefits of linking carbon finance to social programmes to the El Salvador government through information and training sessions. The UNDP has contributed to various activities to raise awareness and train users of the stoves, including through publishing a user’s manual for Turbococina stoves. Moreover, the UNDP facilitated an agreement with the Ministry of Education (MINED) that mandated the use of efficient stoves in schools in its ‘Programa de Alimentacion Escolar’ network, creating an important initial market base and platform. Finally, the UNDP provided technical support to TECSA on the structuring and phasing of the CDM project, including the use of the PoA modality.


The Turbococina stove, which uses a patented technology designed in El Salvador, results in a 90 percent reduction in the need for firewood and eliminates virtually all smoke emissions. For a typical household, this reduces the required firewood from 3.3 tonnes to 0.3 tonnes a year.

An El Salvadorian socially-oriented business, Technologias Ecologicas Centroamericanas (TECSA), is behind the project and is working in full partnership with the Government of El Salvador, including the Ministry of Education (MINED), the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), and two programmes within the Social Investment Fund for Local Development (FISDL), ‘Progama de Alimentacion Escolar’ and ‘Comunidades Solidarias Rurales. ’ TECSA is using an innovative business model that will provide the Turbococina stoves to users for free and then recover its investment through the sale of the emission reductions in the carbon markets.

The stoves will be used to cook the school children’s daily meal as part of the government’s ‘Progama de Alimentacion Escolar’. Thus far, a pilot of 750 Turbococina stoves has been implemented in 300 schools. After building initial awareness and capacity through the school programme, the second phase will involve wider distribution to 100,000 rural households participating in the government’s ‘Comunidades Solidarias Rurales’ social programme.


Transitioning to the Turbococina stove is also anticipated to have long-term sustainable development benefits. Since a much smaller quantity of wood is needed to power Turbococina stoves compared to traditional stoves, it is expected that deforestation rates and associated greenhouse gas emissions will decrease. According to the CDM methodology AMS IIG, each household stove is anticipated to generate 4 to 5 tonnes of CO2 reductions per year, for a total annual project size of approximately 500,000 Certified Emission Reductions (CERs). Additionally, women will likely spend less time collecting wood, which will give them more time to dedicate to other, potentially more productive activities. Moreover, the combustion process of the Turbococina stove does not emit noxious gases or smoke, which will reduce respiratory diseases and infections, particularly in women and young children.